Owens, Gallegos, and O’Brien honored with awards in developmental disabilities

2017 Healy award winners from left to right: Caitlin Owens, MSW, Jessica Gallegos, and Matthew O’Brien, PhD, BCBA-D

The Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) is proud to announce that Caitlin Owens, MSW, Jessica Gallegos, and Matthew O’Brien, PhD, BCBA-D, are the 2017 recipients of the Alfred Healy Leadership Award in Developmental Disabilities.

The purpose of the Alfred Healy Leadership Award in Developmental Disabilities is to nurture in recipients a life-long commitment to leadership in developmental disabilities that will carry on Dr. Healy’s legacy for future generations. Healy, who passed away in April of 2012, was a world-renowned pediatrician and educator who devoted his life to caring for children with developmental disabilities. He served as the director of the Center for Disabilities and Development, Iowa’s nationally designated University Center for Excellence on Disabilities, from 1977 until he retired in 1998.

Gallegos is currently enrolled in the Masters of Social Work program, Integrated Practice Concentration at the University of Iowa with graduation expected on May 12, 2017. She is a social work trainee in the Iowa Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (ILEND) program and a practicum student with Child Health Specialty Clinics. She is also a student social worker in the Iowa Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center. Though early in her career, she presented this spring at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, and at Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health in Des Moines, Iowa. Her interests include mental health, disability, and maternal/child health advocacy and program development, and cultural/diversity sensitivity and awareness advocacy and training.

O’Brien is a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. He completed his doctorate in Psychological and Quantitative Foundations from the University of Iowa and completed postdoctoral fellowships in neuropsychology and behavioral psychology at UI Hospitals and Clinics. O’Brien currently directs the Biobehavioral Day Treatment Clinic, which serves individuals with severe and challenging behavior. His research interests include functional analysis of severe and challenging behavior in individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Outside of his clinical and research duties, O’Brien is involved in advocacy efforts for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, including chairing the Governor’s Autism Council and serving on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Iowa.

Owens was a social work ILEND trainee during the 2013–2014 academic year, and she completed her MSW practicum at the Center for Disabilities and Development and Child Health Specialty Clinics. Prior to that she worked for several years in disability services in a variety of roles and settings in the community including special education, homeless services, job support and supported community living, and post-secondary education. She has worked for CDD since January 2015 where her main responsibility is providing staff support and policy analysis to Iowa’s Olmstead Consumer Taskforce. She also plays important roles in service system improvement projects related to integrating physical health, behavioral health, and substance abuse services; health promotion; and community corrections. She is a member of the University Center for Excellence on Disabilities Leadership Team.

They received their awards on May 5 at a luncheon hosted by the Center for Disabilities and Development.

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